Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Publication Date: July 31st, 2012
Harlequin Teen
Format: E-ARC from the publisher, courtesy of Net  Galley
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
“I won’t tell anyone, Echo. I promise.” Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. “You didn’t do that-did you? It was done to you?” No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.   
So wrong for each other…and yet so right.
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.  Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
Is it possible to read a book, not necessarily in its entirety but still able to follow along with the story?
Is it possible to select which people you want to read about and still consider the book, read?
Is it possible to hate secondary characters so much that I nearly pulverized my teeth from gritting them?
YES…NO. But my jaw hurts like a mutha.
I’m a ball of frustrated mess with this book. Obviously, there are a lot of sensitive topics that were tackled here. But again, it’s one of those reads where every single insipid, shallow, empty, hollow character overshadowed how great this book is.  
It’s a rarity when you find a book that has the power to make you realize just what kind of person you are. Pushing the Limits is that book for me. I realized a couple of ugly truths about myself: I can hold on to a grudge like it’s the last copy of Melina Marchetta’s book in the entire universe and secondly, I don’t forgive easily.
This book reminds me of my reaction to The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. And although there was nothing fluffy about this book that I was led to believe at first, the character’s familial conflicts and resolutions made me mad. Echo’s father infuriated me beyond belief. He was a controlling figure who excused his behavior all in the name of protecting his daughter. I should understand where he’s coming from; he did what he had to do to protect her from remembering. I simply didn’t care that Echo forgave her dad easily because at the end of the day,  he still put his daughter second every. Single. Time. Oh and I’m also not a fan of cheating fathers. Personal experience, personal problem…moving on. 
Echo’s father wasn’t the only one who needed to be basted with honey, tied to a tree, left to be devoured by fire ants from the surrounding anthills. Her so-called friends’ goal in life is to be popular and to be popular, Echo has to go back to “normal”. I raged, ranted, and violently cursed the day each of these characters came across my path – figuratively. I literally skipped the pages where her friends schemed on the ways she could be popular again. I mean, seriously? The girl went through a traumatic event and all you care about was how to make her part of the high school upper echelons again? Please. Granted, they didn’t really know what happened to her. But come on, get a clue. She came back from a break a totally changed person. And instead they speculated and started the rumours that she was cutting herself because that was way better than everyone knowing her mother’s finally lost her sense of reality? 
/Rant over.
VERDICT: I am conflicted with this book, hence the middle of the bar rating. I do love how well evolved the plot was. The intricate way in which their pasts unravel was done in a perfect progression. I also loved the two main characters, no matter how much they frustrated me constantly. I loved the romance – the couple made sense. In a way they reminded me of Alex and Britney of Perfect Chemistry. It’s the bad boy and the straight and arrow girl pairing that though, overdone, is still a favourite of mine.  
I wish I wasn’t so consumed with severe frustration with the secondary characters. In the end, there was a lot of douche-baggery that went on. I just couldn’t get past it. Maybe if I hadn’t skipped the parts that anger me, I would be more understanding. I just…couldn’t. 

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